For the Miami Heat, Lillard had hoped to be traded.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Damian Lillard will be moved to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team transaction that also includes the Phoenix Suns. In exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson, Phoenix acquires Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, an unprotected Milwaukee first-round pick in 2029, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030.Lillard, who has spent the offseason requesting a specific trade to the Miami Heat, is extremely surprised by the action. He joins the Bucks instead.
Due to his infamous long-range shooting, Lillard, a seven-time All-Star, can give the Bucks a tonne of spacing. He has made 2,387 3-pointers since entering the NBA, and only Stephen Curry and James Harden can surpass that total. Even though his career long-range shooting percentage of 37.2% isn’t particularly exceptional on paper, the players around him have frequently forced him to attempt challenging shots. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who consistently draws double and triple teams on drives and commands as much attention in the paint as any player in the game, will now be his new teammate. For a powerful Bucks team that will be difficult to stop in 2023–24 when healthy, Lillard and Khris Middleton should be able to feast on open looks.
It was immediately apparent that Lillard had his heart set on the Miami Heat when he first requested a trade in July. He really does want to play in Miami. Period,” Aaron Goodwin, Lillard’s agent, said to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
The NBA had to inform all 30 teams in a memo that it had “advised Goodwin and Lillard that any future comments, made privately to teams or publicly, suggesting Lillard will not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade will subject Lillard to discipline by the NBA.” This was due to the aggressiveness of the stance. In the end, the Bucks made the trade independently, defying Lillard’s desire to join the Heat.
The Heat’s offseason was centred around a trade they eventually were unable to make, and now they are left to pick up the pieces. Miami still has two free roster spots, which it was retaining for potential deal flexibility. The Heat lost important free agents Max Strus and Gabe Vincent in July, and since virtually no noteworthy free agent is still on the market, there is no way for them to be internally replaced. Miami’s quest for a third appearance in the Finals in five years has just become much more challenging.
After more than ten years with Lillard as their franchise player, the Blazers will finally move on. Lillard led the Blazers to the playoffs eight times in 11 seasons. However, they were never able to advance past the Western Conference Finals, and after spending two years in the lottery, it was time for the two sides to split ways. Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe will now serve as the cornerstones of Portland’s reconstruction, while Lillard begins the next stage of his career in Milwaukee.